How to Create Effective and Simple Content Marketing Strategies

Content marketing

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Frank Hamilton, Blogger

By this point, every business owner and marketer knows about the importance of having a content marketing strategy. However, it’s worth stressing that your strategy needs to be effective and successful – otherwise, there’s no point in it.

But if you are a beginner or if you don’t have a lot of time, you might not be able to create a detailed, advanced content marketing strategy. Luckily, you can still create a simple but effective one. Hence, here’s everything you should know about how to create effective and simple content marketing strategies.

Why Should You Update Your Strategy Regularly?

Changing or updating your content marketing strategy may seem counterintuitive at first, but there is a reason for it. Your current strategy may not work as well as you would like it to. On the other hand, your strategy may become outdated and ineffective. In both cases, you would have to change or update your strategy. Doing this regularly will further improve the performance of your content marketing campaigns.

#1 Do Your Research

Without a doubt, the very first thing you should do is research. If you don’t know your audience, competitors, and market, you can’t create an effective content marketing strategy. Start with your target audience and make sure to segment it. Then, look at what your competitors are doing with the content they create. Lastly, look at the overall situation in your niche (e.g. the popularity of your products, recent trends in the industry, and so on).

#2 Establish Goals and KPIs

Once you have completed your research, you will need to establish goals for your strategy and KPIs for your content. The goals you set will determine which types of content you will be focusing on, which marketing channels you will prioritize, and so on. Likewise, your KPIs will help you analyze the performance of your content to see how successful your content marketing efforts are. With the help of your goals and KPIs, you can better understand how effective your strategy is and which aspects need to be improved.

#3 Choose Marketing Channels

As mentioned above, your goals will determine which marketing channels you prioritize. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t choose a wide variety of these channels. Saoirse Coleman, an expert from the essay writing service ratings site, explains it this way, “It’s a good idea to work with different types of content marketing, including email marketing, social media marketing, guest blogging, etc. This will expand your content marketing strategy and will help you reach your audience through a variety of channels.”

#4 Set Content Requirements

Content requirements or guidelines are fundamental for any successful content marketing strategy. A clear set of guidelines for your content allows you to be consistent with your content quality, format, themes, and so on. It’s necessary to set guidelines for every type of content you work with (e.g. articles, photos, pie charts, podcasts, etc.) Keep in mind your branding and integrate it into the guidelines to create a particular brand image for your business.

#5 Create A Posting Schedule

Just like content guidelines, a posting schedule is meant to help you with consistency. However, the importance of a posting schedule goes further than that. Olly Dodd, an expert from the custom writing ratings site, puts it this way, “When you determine the best hours for posting, your schedule helps you publish content consistently and during the right time. At the same time, a posting schedule allows you to align the content you post on different channels.”

#6 Distribute Resources

Now that most of your preparation is complete, you need to distribute the resources you possess. Of course, you probably already had a good idea of your budget and other resources when you started creating your strategy. But now that you know what exactly you will be doing (content formats, posting schedule, etc.), you need to consider your resources again and distribute them. Keep in mind your goals, KPIs, and prioritized channels.

#7 Act and Track Performance

Last but not least, start creating content, posting it, and tracking its performance. If your goals are reached and your KPIs show that your content is performing well, you can’t update your strategy to set new milestones. If it’s difficult to reach your goals, it’s a good idea to review your strategy and see where you tried to jump over your head. In any case, make the right steps to create a strategy you can actually work with successfully.

All in all, creating an effective yet simple content marketing strategy for your business is possible – and even necessary. Use the steps in this article to help you create your own strategy and continue regularly updating it to make it more efficient.


Frank HamiltonAbout the Author: Frank Hamilton is a blogger and translator from Manchester. He is a professional writing expert in such topics as blogging, digital marketing and self-education. He also loves traveling and speaks Spanish, French, German and English.




Geben Communication Acquires Content Marketing and Influencer Agency Women Online

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Geben Communication, an award-winning public relations firm, today announced it has acquired Women Online, a content and influencer marketing agency that specializes in national social impact and nonprofit clients.

“We’ve always focused on accelerating growth and impact for our clients. Now, we can do more,” said Geben Founder and President, Heather Whaling. “This acquisition expands our expertise, elevates our services, and creates new ways for us to support our clients’ goals. The Women Online team has a rich history of successfully implementing creative, innovative campaigns that shift behaviors, engage stakeholders, and educate audiences, and we’re excited to add their expertise to our team.”

Generalists by intent, Geben’s clients span industries from healthcare and technology to B2B and consumer services. And now, the addition of Women Online catapults Geben to the forefront of the social impact space. After starting as a PR and social media agency in 2009, Geben’s services expanded as clients’ needs evolved over the years — adding paid search, paid social, SEO audits and strategy, and data analytics/insights to its offerings.

Women Online Founder, Morra Aarons-Mele, is joining Geben’s leadership team as EVP and will lead the development of a national social impact practice.

“There’s so much alignment that joining forces feels like a natural next step for both teams,” said Aarons-Mele. “I’m thrilled to deepen our talent bench and supplement our content and influencer services with PR and digital marketing.”

Geben stays at the forefront of ever-evolving client needs. Consumers are demanding brands live their values. By infusing Women Online’s national social impact expertise, Geben is expanding its services to deliver innovative, effective solutions to foundations, nonprofits and mission-driven brands committed to creating a better world.

“Geben means ‘to give’ in German, so it’s only natural that when we decided to invest in our growth, we found a partner who shares our deep commitment to doing well by doing good,” said Whaling.

The transaction was completed as of May 11, 2021. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

 




6 Free Press Release Templates to Boost Your Content Marketing and PR

Notified

A well-written press release can be an efficient and effective way to boost your content marketing and public relations strategy. The problem is, many people don’t know how to write one.

The most important components of a successful press release are: (1) having a newsworthy event to promote; (2) using a quality press release template and distribution partner; and (3) following clear writing guidelines.

We can’t help you with the newsworthy event, but we can give you the press release templates and writing guidelines to use for greater success. In this article you’ll find:

  • 6 free press release templates for multiple situations
  • 9 guidelines for writing an excellent press release

    To get the most from this guide, select one of the templates below and read the instructions. Then, follow our “9 Guidelines for Writing an Excellent Press Release” in the last section.

    6 Free Press Release Templates for Multiple Situations

    Below you’ll find six free press release templates. Carefully review all the templates and choose the best for your situation. Please download and share these templates however you like!

    1. General Press Release Template

    Our “General Press Release” template is a Swiss Army knife solution that covers many scenarios. This press release ensures that you include everything the media and your key audiences want to see.

    Follow these steps when completing this template, and all the other templates in this guide:

    1. Include your company’s specific logo.
    2. Fill in the brackets with your text or delete irrelevant bracketed sections.
    3. Fill in your headline and sub-headline.
    4. Be succinct, dynamic and engaging.
    5. Keep your press release between 1 and 2 pages in length.
    6. Adjust the formatting to make it “neat.”

      Before you write your press release, carefully review the “9 Guidelines for Writing an Excellent Press Release” (below).

      Press release template for general news

      [Click on the image to download]

      2. Special Events and Celebrations Press Release Template

      This template works for special events and community celebrations, especially those that are open to the public. Use this press release to announce:

      • Grand openings
      • Fashion shows
      • Film screenings
      • Galas
      • Sporting events
      • Concerts
      • Public lectures
      • Charity events
      • Auctions
      • Other public celebrations

        When writing, use exciting language that “sells” your special event to the public. Give them a reason to show up! How much does it cost? When is it? Who’s going to be there?

        Follow the advice in the “General Press Release” section (above) when filling out this template. Also, pay close attention to our “9 Guidelines for Writing an Excellent Press Release” (below).

        Press release template for an event

        [Click on the image to download]

        3. Unveiling or Launch Date Press Release Template

        This press release template is for launching or unveiling a new product, service, technology, etc. The goal is to attract new customers. Use this template to announce:

        • New products
        • New professional services
        • Game-changing technologies
        • Social or political campaigns
        • New business launches
        • New website launches
        • Shipping dates for new products and how to buy them

          Make sure you write your “Launch Date Press Release” in a way that it appeals to the widest audience possible. Also, give the media and your key audiences information about (1) the size of the audience, (2) why they’ll be interested, (3) how much the product/service costs, and (4) how people can buy it.

          Don’t forget to follow the general advice for filling out the template included in the “General Press Release” section (above). And before writing, scan through the “9 Guidelines for Writing an Excellent Press Release” (below).

          Press release template for a launch

          [Click on the image to download]

          4. Company Developments Press Release Template

          Companies are continually developing and growing, and so are their employees. The “Company Developments Press Release” is for important developments and changes that happen within your organization. You might use this template when your company:

          • Hires a legendary computer programmer
          • Gets a new CEO
          • Merges with a prestigious brand
          • Lands a lucrative new contract
          • Finalizes a legal settlement
          • Achieves a sales/income milestone
          • Achieves a corporate goal
          • Plans to construct a new facility
          • Recognizes the achievements of a team member or department

            Don’t forget to follow the general advice for filling out the template included in the “General Press Release” section (above). And before writing, scan through the “9 Guidelines for Writing an Excellent Press Release” (below).
            Press release template for company developments

            [Click on the image to download]

            5. Awards and Special Achievements Press Release Template

            Perhaps your company just recognized the efforts of an employee who did something amazing. Maybe a prestigious organization gave your company an award. Use this template to share news about accolades and achievements like this.
            When writing an “Awards and Special Achievements Press Release,” don’t forget to contextualize the award by showing why it’s relevant to a wider audience. Not all awards will be interesting to the public, so be selective when promoting something like this to the media.

            Make sure you refer to the “General Press Release” section (above) for more instructions on how to complete the template. Also, follow the “9 Guidelines for Writing an Excellent Press Release” (below).

            Press release template for an award

            [Click on the image to download]

            6. Contact List Press Release Template (for Sending to an Email List)

            If you have a contact list of your own, format your press release into a succinct and timely email announcement. The “Contact List Press Release” should be a mandatory extra step no matter which of these six press release formats you choose.

            The “Contact List Press Release” template helps you craft an email to send directly to your established audience. Use it to announce:

            • New areas of business
            • Launches and product releases
            • Special events and celebrations
            • Awards and achievements

              Remember that emails benefit from an eye-catching, click-worthy subject line. Also, don’t forget to include links to your products, services, or webpage in the body of your email.

              Read the “General Press Release” section (above) for tips on filling out the template. Also, use all the “9 Guidelines for Writing an Excellent Press Release” (below).

              Press release template for email

              [Click on the image to download]

               9 Guidelines for Writing an Excellent Press Release

              Media outlets sort through mountains of press releases each day to find the most interesting stories. However, the majority of these press releases don’t contain anything “newsworthy.”

              To get noticed, your press release needs to stand out from the rest.  While keeping this in mind, peruse the following guidelines for writing a press release, and try to apply them to yours:

              1. Don’t send a press release unless you have something truly interesting to announce.  Your newsworthy event should be eye-catching, headline-worthy, exciting, curious, click-worthy, and awe-inspiring. It should be newsworthy and of interest to as many as possible. Let the facts speak for themselves.
              2.  Think like a journalist.  Journalists are hungry for a real story. They’re digging through the mundane, trying to satisfy a demanding audience. That takes work. Reporters like to have all of the facts delivered to them. That’s what your press release should do. Get into the head of the journalist. What do they want? What’s going to make their readers happy? How can you provide that in your press release?
              3. Make the reporter’s job easy. It’s true that an impactful, engaging press release can help your business. Spell things out. Make things easy and clear. Your press release should act as a “story kit” with all the building blocks for a complete story. Include all the facts, stats, quotes, names, times, and dates in your submission. Essentially, you are giving the journalist a readymade, headline-worthy story.
              4. Let the facts speak for themselves.  Don’t use flowery language. This is not the time for grandiose promotion. Deliver the information and let the facts speak for themselves. It’s the most powerful way to convey your message to a journalist and your readers.
              5. Spend time on your headline. The best press releases lead with a headline that grabs you by the eyes. If you can’t summarize your story into an interest-inducing headline, chances are you don’t have news.
              6. Be brief. When you can use ten words instead of 50, try five! We’ll leave it at that.
              7. Don’t use industry jargon. Strip all industry jargon from your press releases. Explain it like you’re talking to a fifth grader. Even if you’re targeting industry-specific journalists, state your message in short sentences with simple words. Use the Hemingway App to gauge how easy it is to read your press release and make adjustments as required.
              8. Submit the press release “under embargo,” and submit it early.  Using “embargoed for” allows you to request a specific time and date for release. Media organizations will usually honor this date. More importantly, submitting early and under embargo helps journalists by giving them extra time to craft a compelling story.
              9. Don’t rely on journalists alone. Reach out to your audience. Above you’ll find our “Contact List Press Release.” No matter which template you choose, create an additional press release with this template and send it to your email list. Also, post your news on social media. This will allow you to spread your message far and wide.

              Share Your Story with Intrado Digital Media

              A well-crafted press release is a powerful tool in your communication arsenal. Now you have six templates and the helpful guidelines to get you moving in the right direction. But how do you ensure that your press releases aren’t falling on deaf ears? Moreover, how do you know if your audience is hearing the right message?

              At Intrado Digital Media, we provide digital media communication solutions to companies of all sizes. Whether you’re a Fortune 50 firm or a three-man startup, we can help you share your stories quickly and efficiently across all digital channels. Then we’ll monitor the true impact of those communications to make sure you’re getting the right message across.

              Contact Intrado Digital Media now to learn how we can help your organization achieve its communication goals.

               




              The Future of Content Marketing and What We Should Expect

              Nick Galov, HostingTribunal.com 

              There is no doubt that content marketing holds the number one spot for the most efficient and beneficial method of promotion and advertising in the world of the internet and social media. This marketing method has been around since the late 19th century and has revolutionized the way marketers connect and engage with their audience.

              Here’s a brief overview: 

              The first recorded mention of this kind of marketing in history books appears somewhere around the year 1885 when The Furrow magazine provided a guide for farmers on how to grow and improve their business. The next mention was in 1912 when the French tire company Michelin released a 400-page informational guide for drivers, which contained travel advice as well as information about auto maintenance services.

              The key point is – content marketing has been around for quite some time. We know how it contributed to the historical development of several industries.

              But now comes the $64,000 question: 

              What can we expect in the future?

              Nobody knows exactly how or in what specific way content marketing will continue to develop. But thanks to several studies and a bit of research, we can put the information side by side and dive deeper to get an idea of what we can expect.

              According to a study conducted by the CMI (Content Marketing Institute), as many as 87% of brands are currently using content marketing, with 53% of those claiming they aim to further increase investment in the next few years.

              What’s more, further information reveals that, at the current rate of development, the industry will see an annual growth of 16%, skyrocketing from $196.58 billion to $412 billion by 2021. This report highlights several contributing factors, such as global smartphone adoption, loyalty and brand objectives, lower cost of advertising than usual, and increased conversion. 

              Content marketing is also expected to be dominant in two major sections: video and evergreen content. On the one hand, evergreen content has compounding returns which are much higher than temporal content.

              On the other hand, video content represents 82% of all IP traffic. Marketers have already started and are expected to continue using video to personalize the marketing process for each buyer.

              All in all, experts believe LinkedIn will see one of the largest growth in brand and user engagement among social media networks and websites. In turn, this will provide a rich opportunity for brands to grow and leverage a presence.

              The famous “Alexa Voice Search” is also going through accelerated growth, offering new opportunities for marketers to build higher integration with both delivery services and ecommerce.

              Numbers speak for themselves, but there is only so much information we can gather right now. All we can do at the end of the day is to sit back and observe how things are going to develop in this billion-dollar industry.

              We hope you learned something new and are going to find this information useful in some way!

               




              The Word Count Guide for Content Marketing Distribution Channels

              The Word Count Guide for Content Marketing Distribution Channels

              Phoebe Robson, Blogger

              When limiting word count to produce pristine content for your marketing strategy, word count tools are your best friend. However, knowing what word count limit produces optimal results—e.g. website traffic and engagement is a different thing altogether. As you post on different channels, the rules change. There is never one definite answer or definite word/character count limit.

              Here is a word count guide for various content marketing distribution channels.

              BLOG POST

              Longer content is better content. Or so they say.

              Longer content doesn’t always give you the optimal engagements. Users prefer in-depth content that thoroughly covers a topic or a subject.Having a 2500-word count blog post or even up to 5000 is still acceptable as long as you provide an exhaustive one-stop guide for a topic. Having said this, you need to dedicate time and effort to build a pristine content.

              It looks good from Google’s perspective.

              However, if you are just targeting to increase your page views, you can still write a short blog post as long as it stays within 300 blog post character limit. A 500-1000-word count blog post helps with SEO branding and it is long enough to cover a topic.With this length, you can still target keywords and still great for pleasing Google.

              If your goal is for engagement, you can play within 2100-2500 word count.

              According to Buffer, the sweet spot for a blog post that gets optimal engagement is an average read time of 7 minutes, with 300-word count per minute. This hits the readability score and is also good for SEO.

              If you are ranking for competitive keywords, it requires writing not less than 2500 word count with high-quality, long-form content.

              While you focus on your blog post’s body, you should also not forget about the title word count limit which should be around 50-60 character limit.

              It often has to do with the dimensions. Google can read about 600 pixels that convert to 60 character limit.

              META DESCRIPTION

              A meta description is the one that appears in the SERP. It functions as a blurb or a preview to your blog post. It makes or breaks your content strategy as it relies on pixel count or on what character count appears in the SERP. Keeping it within 145-155 character limit produces the best results. 

              FACEBOOK

              A status update’s ideal length is 40 character limit. This number relies on the like and comment rate that a post gets. The 40 character limit Facebook posts got 86 percent higher engagement according to a study as featured in this Buffer post.

              In the same post, they found that an 80-character limit or less post gained a 66 percent engagement rate.

              INSTAGRAM

              Instagram is not purely visual content. It helps to know what viewers should look at. While this is the case, you should keep Instagram bio within 150 character limit and hashtags can be as many as 30. The ideal length of an Instagram caption is under 125 characters. But we all know, putting emojis and other descriptions for decoration helps in engagement. Hence, you need to put your most interesting caption on the first 125 character limit, since this is what viewers see on their feed.

              Leave hashtags and other decorative descriptions at the end. 

              SNAPCHAT

              If you haven’t been using Snapchat in your content strategy, this is the best time that you do. Especially if your target audience is the younger generation, your market is using Snapchat with millions of daily active users. Like Instagram, Snapchat also focuses on visual content. But with Snapchat, you only have hours to show your snap. Hence, you want your viewers to focus on your images and use the caption only to support the images.

              It’s not ideal to create longer captions as it distracts the viewer.

              TWITTER

              Although 140 is the character limit, the sweet spot is 100-120 characters, no more than 2 hashtags; hashtags limited to 11 characters. Although hashtags give you more engagement, more hashtags make your post look spammy. A 100 character limit gets a 17% higher engagement rate and a spike in retweets.

              LINKEDIN

              You should limit a LinkedIn professional headline to 120 character limit and a professional summary of 2000 characters. The position title should not exceed 100 character limit and the description of 2000 characters. This converts to a 1000-word count. While a status update should be only 600 character limit, original content posted on LinkedIn can have 4,000 characters which convert to 2000 word count.

              Including images also produces optimal results when posting articles on LinkedIn. 

              YOUTUBE

              Like any other visual content, YouTube needs context like who is in the video and what to expect. Staying within 1000 characters or 500-word count is the sweet spot for YouTube descriptions.

              Here, it’s important to front-load your most important descriptions and CTA on the first lines and leave the rest at the end. 

              GOOGLE+

              If six-word short stories are your nightmare in English class, Google+ description would be the same. Headlines should stay within 60 characters and one line which should be 6 words approximately. While they are hard to write, they give the optimal engagement in Google+. 

              EMAILS

              An email subject line would be within 28-39 characters. There are advantages to short or long emails. However, as they (or Shakespeare) say, brevity is the soul of wit. Writing a short and concise email respects and values the time of your recipient. But if you need to say more, don’t be afraid to write a longer one. 

              Conclusion

              Character limits have particular goals in mind. One, character limits are used to keep your viewers from being bored. While it keeps the appearance of simplicity, it also tries to maximize reader comprehension with short word counts. Following these guidelines does not guarantee an impressive increase in website traffic or engagement. But these are data-driven numbers that saw a spike in parameters. That said, don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works, keeping track of which post performs. From there, you can always make adjustments.


              Sources

              https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/character-count-guide

              https://kaleidico.com/word-count-for-content-marketing/

              https://buffer.com/library/the-ideal-length-of-everything-online-according-to-science

               




              Brand Storytelling & Content Marketing Conference at Disneyland

              Live Event: September 19 & 20, 2019 • Anaheim, CA

               

              Brand Storytelling & Content Marketing Conference at Disneyland

               

              Learn to craft engaging stories that capture attention, build brand loyalty and boost your organization’s bottom line.




              BTS: Content Marketing Video Workflow, Tips and Ideas to Steal

              BTS: Content Marketing Video Workflow, Tips and Ideas to Steal

              Libris is pulling back the curtain in their on-demand webinar! Get tips for shooting video, conducting interviews and speeding up your workflow so you can reach your followers faster.

              Read on here…

              This content is part of Digital Asset Management Month, a month-long series presented by Libris by PhotoShelter to help you manage your visual assets and connect with your followers.




              Visual Content Marketing Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

              Visual Content Marketing Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

               

              Do you know what mistakes you’re making with visual content? In this webinar, learn how to avoid content marketing pitfalls and come out on top.

              Read on here…

              This content is part of Digital Asset Management Month, a month-long series presented by Libris by PhotoShelter to help you manage your visual assets and connect with your followers.




              8 Keys to a Successful Content Marketing Campaign

              Great content marketing campaigns don’t just happen

              Content marketing, when done well, has a long-lasting impact on the success of an organization.

              But this success does not come easily.

              Competition is fierce, audiences are hard to reach, and without a well-defined approach to campaigns, content marketers are essentially just relying on luck to drive business results.

              This guide gives you the foundation to outmaneuver your competition, deliver real value to your audiences, and drive audiences through your marketing funnel to attain well-defined business objectives.

              And it shows you how to prove your success every step of the way.

              This infographic is the abridged version of the full content marketing campaigns guide.

               


              Content marketing campaigns infographic




              Unlock the Key to Content Marketing Strategy Using Real-Time Data

              Register for PRSA’s Content Marketing Certificate Program, designed to teach and empower you to develop content strategies and tactics that deliver quantifiable business outcomes. https://bit.ly/prsacontent

               

               

              Lisa Arledge Powell, President, MediaSource

              In the world of content marketing, the word “strategy” gets thrown around a lot. You’ll hear it used in grandiose ways that make it seem almost mythical. That’s because for many people, strategy really is just a guess. It’s their gut reaction based on years of experience or personal preference. But neither of these approaches are the best way to develop an effective content marketing strategy. The only way to get smart, results-oriented strategy in place is by leveraging data and measurement – and by using it throughout the life of a project. 

              An analogy I like to use comes from the sports world. If you’re a coach and you want to win, would you go through a whole game without checking the scoreboard? No! In the same way you need to know how your team is faring so that you can adjust your game plan, you need to understand the performance of your content strategy so you can adjust it – and come out victorious. Establish project goals at the outset and continually measure progression towards those goals on a weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual basis. 

              “Measuring data in real time is essential,” said Rob Oquendo, Executive Vice President of Digital and Creative at Spectrum. “We live in a digital world. If you’re not doing things in real time, you’re missing out.” 

              Not having enough time in your day is not a valid excuse. Set aside a half-hour at the start of your day to begin establishing data-driven habits in your workflow. 

              The first and most important step is to be cognizant of all the measurable data points you have throughout your different paid, earned, shared and owned tactics, and set up systems that will allow you to check results quickly every morning. Remember that you only have half an hour, so don’t overcommit yourself to a bunch of number crunching. 

                   For owned media: check your Google Analytics dashboards.

                   For earned media: log into your media database service and do a quick scan of the results it brought in in the last 24 hours.

                   For shared and paid media: look at either the native reporting data from social sites or use a tool to compile all of that data in one place.

              Once you’ve quickly looked at each data point (should only take about 20 minutes), compile a one-sheet each day that summarizes trends in the results. This step will create the strategy map you need to ensure success. For instance, if you have five daily updates in a row that show that paid media is failing, maybe you recommend shifting those resources to allow for more earned media outreach. Without daily measurement guiding you, that could have been a big strategic miss. Plus, compiling daily updates throughout the life of a project creates records of wins and losses, which are always good to have. 

              “If you’re waiting for reports that are a week or even a day late, game over,” says Oquendo. “You need to filter your data by relevance in order to say ahead, because no matter how many resources you throw at it, there is so much data that it’s always going to win.” 

              I want to be clear, the above advice does not give you permission to stop looking in-depth at results and compiling them in a comprehensive fashion. Frankly, that is the next step in the process. But for those just starting to dip their toe in measurement, quick daily measurement is a good place to start. 

              Too many people view measurement as a necessary evil – and they aren’t entirely wrong. It is necessary, but it’s certainly not evil. It’s time to drop the excuses and start showing real results.

              “There’s a lot out there that is easy to measure,” said Oquendo. “But where the real breakthrough comes from is figuring out how to measure the hard stuff. As an industry, we need to keep up and use the right data to make the right decisions.” 


              Lisa Arledge Powell is president of MediaSource, an award-winning creative agency that specializes in content-focused public relations, content marketing and national media exposure for major brands. Connect with Lisa on Twitter: @LisaArledge




              The Importance of Visual Storytelling in Content Marketing

              Lisa Arledge Powell

              I’ll believe it when I see it.” – Your Audience, probably.

              Visual storytelling has proven to be a highly-effective storytelling tool. If you’re not already, you should be incorporating visuals into your content marketing initiatives. And if you are, are you sure you’re using the right type for the right content?

              Research shows that visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. Tweets with images or videos have proven to receive 150% more retweets than tweets without and live videos on average get six times as many interactions as traditional videos, according to Facebook. Conclusion: visual content is important.

              But what type of visual should you use? It’s not enough to just throw a picture on a post and assume it will perform better; content marketers need to strategically determine which multimedia format will best deliver their desired results, taking into account the brand’s overarching objectives.

              Be strategic and thoughtful about the multimedia you use and you’ll effectively attract your viewers’ eyes and spark meaningful engagement with your content.

              Photos

              Photos are a simple but effective way to enhance your story. A thoughtfully-selected photo can be a quick and easy way to give your posts some pop and add visual appeal. But make sure your image is clear and tells the story you are trying to tell. If you are trying to showcase how your CEO wowed an audience at a conference, who is the story about? It’s about the crowd. Consider a wide or panoramic shot to make it the focus of the image. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Select the most iconic image that most accurately tells your story.

              Graphics

              Numbers can be boring. But numbers presented in a dynamic way? Now that’s fun. Graphics are a great way to liven up figures and statistics and help your audience visualize them in the context of the story. Producing a chart or graph might only take you a few minutes, but it will keep your audience engaged, break up the text and help them better understand the story. If you have statistic-heavy topic, consider combining several visual graphics into an infographic.

              Video

              If you are trying to capture emotion or tell a story that progresses over time, video is king.  There is not a magic number when it comes to videos; it’s all about the impact. Videos can range from a short little blurb (think Vine… RIP), or a full length documentary or feature. The format depends entirely on what story you want to tell, who your audience is and how they will view the video (television, mobile, etc). Facebook video posts garner 135% greater organic reach than photo posts.

              Consider the difference between a spot on the benefits of Chocolate Milk and another about the opioid crisis in Ohio, and notice the shift in tone.

              Consider using more visuals to drive your brand messaging forward, but be strategic about it. By choosing the right visuals and presenting them in the right way, you can reach your audience more effectively and get noticed, watched, shared and remembered. 


              Lisa Arledge Powell is president of MediaSource, an award-winning creative agency that specializes in content-focused public relations, content marketing and national media exposure for major brands. Connect with Lisa on Twitter: @LisaArledge  Find more articles by Lisa are available on PRSA’s Content Connection.

              To learn more about Content Marketing, earn a certificate in content marketing from PRSA: https://bit.ly/prsacontent




              Why State Farm’s Content Marketing Partnership with “This Is Us” Was a Success

              Lisa Arledge Powell, President, MediaSource

              It’s no accident that State Farm’s decision to get into the content marketing game with the hit television series “This Is Us” has been a successful partnership. The brand’s slogan “here to help life go right” is a natural tie for the nostalgia that has fans of the NBC show captivated each week by the major moments of the Pearson family.

              “This program is about real life and the real issues that people face—both triumphs and tragedies. That is what State Farm has always been about, being there for you during your good times and your worst times, and helping to make things go right,” said Karen Noel, Marketing Manager for State Farm.

              The multiplatform content campaign included TV spots and social media content anchored by three creative pieces filmed in the style of “This Is Us.” With flashback and flash forward scenes, acoustic guitar music and voiceover by the show’s stars, it took viewers a few seconds to realize the content was not part of the show—which is what makes it so effective.


              02 ThisIsStuff_Photo2 

               

              Versions of the State Farm spots appeared on NBC’s digital and social platforms, as well as those of NBC digital partners BuzzFeed and Vox Media. The campaign also included strategic social activation with the brand and the show, teaming up on a well executed social media campaign that centered around family keepsakes. “This Is Us” and State Farm asked fans to submit photos of items that are meaningful to their own families via Twitter using the #ThisIsMyKeepsake hashtag. 

               

              03 ThisIsUs_Twitter

               

              The co-branded tweets were liked and retweeted thousands of times. Fans also responded by tweeting photos of treasured items such as vintage dolls, grandmothers’ jewelry and other family heirlooms.

              “This show truly pulls at the audience’s heartstrings in the most human way possible. And, sometimes it is the little things or a precious item that brings you back to a time in your life that you remember, whether good or bad,” said Noel. “We know how important family and ‘your stuff’ is. Jack went back to get some of those in the fire. State Farm gets that and that’s part of the reason we wanted to partner with the show. As a brand, our values are similar.”

              State Farm said that the brand is happy with the campaign outcome including the social activation and the large following that the show, which grew in audience week to week, allowed them to reach.

              Noel’s best advice for brands considering a multiplatform content partnership with a TV show is to start early and allow enough time to fully develop the idea in a comprehensive way. She suggests assigning staff who are already fans of the program to your content project, adding, “We did and it was quite helpful. We didn’t have to explain things since people understood the show and what it stood for. Just like our own brand—there was a shorthand.” 

              Will “This Is Us” fans see more content from State Farm associated with future episodes?

              “We will continue to meet with partners who have the right platform for us to extend our brand in new and creative ways,” said Noel.

              Just like story of the Pearson family, you’ll have to tune in to find out.


              Lisa Arledge Powell is president of MediaSource, an award-winning creative agency that specializes in content-focused public relations, content marketing and national media exposure for major brands. Connect with Lisa on Twitter: @LisaArledge


              This article originally appeared on PRSA’s Content Connection digital hub.

              Learn why Content Marketing is one of today’s most in-demand skillsets by registering for PRSA’s Content Marketing Certificate Program https://bit.ly/prsacontent




              Content Marketing for PR Pros Is Not That Scary

              Let’s play a game: I’ll list two job descriptions, and you try to guess what I’m referring to:

              Identify a target audience, build trust, increase brand awareness and help grow business.

              If you guessed public relations—you’re correct! 

              Now, let’s try another one.

              Identify a target audience, build trust, increase brand awareness and help grow business. 

              In this one, I’m referring to content marketing. 

              Look familiar? That’s because they are. 

              Content marketing and public relations are more similar than you think—and today, more intertwined than ever before. The same principles that help PR pros thrive in their field can help lead to sustained success in content marketing—which in today’s competitive media landscape might be critical to your brand’s survival. 

              Here are a few ways the two practices are strikingly similar, and how PR Pros can apply their skills to succeed in content marketing: 

              You already think big

              In PR, you’re searching for the stories that will have the greatest impact and drive your brand forward. With a shared goal between increasing brand awareness in content marketing and PR you should approach story topics the same way. Ask yourself, is this story compelling to my target audience? Does it position my brand favorably? If so, you might have found the right topic for your PR push that can overlap with your content marketing initiative. 

              You bring your brand message to life

              In public relations, your job is to cultivate the right relationships to help drive your brand’s message forward. In content marketing, the end goal is the same, but the methods of getting there might be slightly different. When you are producing content, you want to insert your brand’s messaging or value proposition subtly to maintain their authentic image. While the ultimate goal is to position your story positively and affect the bottom line, your content should serve a different, clearly stated purpose and bring obvious value to your readers. 

              You know how to talk to your audience

              In PR, your team knows the target audience better than anybody else. That’s why sharing the relevant details so that it resonates with their target audience is such a big component of the job. In content marketing, you’re in the driver’s seat and control your messaging. By eliminating the middleman between the media and your team (YOU are the media), you can ensure you’re speaking the language of your target audience. 

              You know how to cut through the clutter

              To be an effective PR pro, you need to learn how to wade through the weeds to get your story heard. Why would the general public care for this story? How is it unique to the countless other stories out there right now? PR pros know how to develop and maintain relationships with the media. These personal relationships help them anticipate their needs and target them effectively with the right stories to drive their clients’ messages forward. 

              The same is true for content marketers. There’s no sense in taking the time to produce original content if you send it off into cyberspace to never be seen. But content marketers aren’t targeting media to share their stories, they’re sharing stories themselves. To separate their content from the pack, content marketers effectively leverage the latest social, email and search engine tactics to get the right eyes on their content. 

              In both PR and the growing field of content marketing, professionals Identify unique topics, consider their target audiences and use their skills to set their stories apart from the rest of the noise.

              About the Author: Lisa Arledge Powell is president of MediaSource, an award-winning creative agency that specializes in content-focused public relations, content marketing and national media exposure for major brands. Connect with Lisa on Twitter: @LisaArledge 

               

              To stay current with your skills, check out all the courses, webinars and workshops offered by PRSA: https://www.prsa.org/events-programs-and-webinars/

               




              BIGVU Names Startup Veteran in Content Marketing and Media Intelligence as CEO

              BIGVU Names Startup Veteran in Content Marketing and Media Intelligence as CEOCommPRO Editorial Team

              Video Creation and Social Publishing App, BIGVU,  leveraged by marketing, sales, training and communications professionals, announced the addition of industry veteran and successful startup founder, Sean Morgan as the company’s new CEO. Morgan previously founded and successfully built and guided Critical Mention, Syndicaster, ClipSyndicate and Screaming Media.

              “We’re thrilled to have someone of Sean’s caliber lead us through our next phase,” said David Amselem, Founder of BIGVU. “Sean has been building startups in New York for 15 years, has grown aggregate annual revenue across his startups to more than $60 million a year, and his background in prototyping, developing and bringing to market best-in-class SaaS products delivered into the marketing, public relations, and publishing sectors will streamline our growth initiative globally.”

              BIGVU’s video creation and social publishing app has been downloaded more than 150,000 times to create high quality videos within minutes and distribute them to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube.

              “The online video content marketing sector is eclipsing all other channels,” said Morgan. “Video is hands down the most pervasive and persuasive medium forming opinion. With BIGVU’s apps, anyone can create high quality videos within minutes on their iOS or Android devices and share them across their social networks. With a captive audience of billions of users, businesses of all sizes are using BIGVU to increase brand awareness, engage audiences, and increase sales through video on social media. With a deep product roadmap, including unprecedented video editing capabilities, I am excited to move into the CEO role and establish BIGVU’s presence in New York.”

              The BIGVU Freemium app is currently being used by thousands of small businesses. Coupled with the recent launch of BIGVU PRO, a premium subscription app that is adding hundreds of paid subscribers each month, BIGVU is poised to significantly grow its market share. The company continues to introduce video creation and marketing solutions to an expanding customer base. In addition to the BIGVU PRO app for small businesses, BIGVU’s Team Collaboration Platform, developed for the Enterprise, includes a “Permissioning and Entitlements” module, and is now licensed by companies including IBM, Allianz, France24, The British Council and Société Générale.




              Content Marketing Solutions that Drive Business

              Content Rules: Create Customer Connections, Deliver Engagement and Drive Business is a how-to guide on insider tips and guidelines on developing content that matters to stakeholder audiences, building relationships and spurring sales. From bylined articles to video to, yes, even white papers, learn how to turn good content into great content. 

              Topics include: 

              • Building Customer Connections
              • Fitting the Media to the Message
              • 6 Steps to Success
              • Tracking ROI

              Learn more about putting your organization on the path to breakthrough content and download the Content Rules white paper today.

              Lumentus is a strategic communications consulting firm based in New York that helps its clients manage their brands, protect their reputations and improve their perceptions across target and stakeholder audiences. The firm’s principals are leading practitioners in the areas of corporate communications, public relations and public affairs, digital reputation management, social media, advertising and branding.

              For more information on the firm’s capabilities and case histories, visit www.lumentus.com

               




              2017 Silver and Bronze Anvils Winner Highlight: Ag Finance and the Era of Content Marketing

              PRSA

              Farm Credit Mid-America – a $21 billion agricultural lending cooperative serving farmers and rural residents of Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee – is a well-known entity, but is was perceived by growth-oriented farmers as a stodgy, conservative operation trying to apply 20th century lending solutions to 21st century farming. 

              FARMSILVERANVILIn light of this, Farm Credit needed to show that it has the expertise and agility to help these farmers succeed. They worked with Exponent PR to develop a reputation management program to make use of its wealth of expertise, improve customer service and drive them to action. 

              The organization defined three objectives: Grow overall loan volume year-to-year; Build awareness among current and prospective customers; and drive year-to-year engagement with current and prospective customers. 

              Planning began by defining an overall strategy to create and deliver interesting and useful content to demonstrate the shared purpose Farm Credit and its customers had in advancing rural America. Farm Credit developed key themes focusing on the Business of Farming, the Future of Rural America, and Curating Innovation. Farm Credit identified storytelling guidelines to keep content aligned with program goals and objectives, and identified top channels for targeting its content externally.

              These included a two-day conference aimed at top farmers, endemic and programmatic digital media buys, paid radio spots, targeted e-blasts, sponsored text messages, print inserts and a cohesive media relations program that raised the credibility of Farm Credit experts to regional and national media. The team broadly defined executional timing, from creation to distribution, and developed a phased approach to bringing various channels to life.

              Farm Credit also created process workflow and governance plans, capturing all activities and timing within a master editorial calendar. By adopting a “create once, publish everywhere” philosophy, the agency leveraged the content across its multiple distribution channels for maximum impact.

              As part of the campaign – and a strategy that also earned them a Bronze Anvil – Farm Credit developed Insights Reports, a series of printed and digital reports consisting of bylines from Farm Credit’s executives and subject matter experts. More dynamic than a whitepaper, stories leveraged internal expertise to demonstrate the organization’s unique level of agriculture and agriculture financing knowledge to help its audience achieve its goals.

              The report series was printed and emailed every three months to customers and prospects and was also available on the company’s website. Additionally, a microsite was created that housed all the reports and included a “contact us” button for more information or to inquire about getting a loan from Farm Credit.

              Despite a down agricultural economy, Farm Credit reported growth in it loan volume in 2016. Media relations efforts resulted in 840 clips and more than 140,000,000 earned impressions which exceeded the goal of 400 clips and 50,000,000 impressions. Additionally, the campaign resulted in 57 interviews conducted, and an average clip quality score of 15.03 (out of 20), which exceeded the goals of 25 interviews and an average clip quality score of 14.

              These numbers, and other positive metrics, demonstrated not only the value of Farm Credit’s insight and content to target audiences, but also underscored the compelling nature of the content. The success of the program reinforced the ability of Farm Credit to stand out in a crowded agricultural marketplace and establish a strong foundation for future success as a capable lending partner to 21st century farming enterprises.

              For more information, click here: https://bit.ly/2018anvils.




              3 Content Marketing Trends to Watch in 2019

               

              2019 content marketing trends

              It’s that time of year again.  We’re approaching the end of 2018 and businesses are looking ahead to the New Year. Many of you are already in the throes of planning.  Keep these three important content marketing trends in mind while you work on how to improve your results next year.

              The Need for a Documented Content Marketing Strategy

              Only 37 percent of US companies have a documented content strategy. Why is this important?  Isn’t it enough to discuss goals and have an unwritten strategy?  Not according to the 65 percent of brands who say that their success with content marketing is a direct result of a documented strategy.

              A complete content marketing strategy starts with research, not setting goals.  Without data, you’re making decisions in a vacuum. It’s a crap shoot – and no CFO likes to gamble with the budget.

              You need to know everything you can about your audience: likes, dislikes, intent, desires, and engagement rates. You also need to know what content you have now, what’s working and what’s not.

              Armed with that information you can set goals that support the business objectives.

              Quality is More Important than Quantity

              quality content

              2019 will be about the quality of content, not quantity. To rise above the flood of content being published every day you need to produce remarkable content that provides value and commands attention. More research is needed here.

              Find out what content is currently available. Talk to your SEO and Web team.  Find out what people are searching for in Google and on your site. Then look at the content they find. How could it be improved? Are there gaps you could fill?

              Rand Fishkin, who coined the term 10X content, says content needs to have at least three or four of these traits to be remarkable. Use this list as a yardstick when creating content next year.

              • Provides a uniquely positive user experience through the user interface, visuals, layout, fonts, patterns, etc.
              • Delivers content that is some substantive combination of high-quality, trustworthy, useful, interesting, and remarkable
              • Is considerably different in scope and detail from other works on similar topics
              • Loads quickly and is usable on any device or browser
              • Creates an emotional response of awe, surprise, joy, anticipation, and/or admiration
              • Solves a problem or answers a question by providing comprehensive, accurate, exceptional information or resources.
              • Has achieved an impressive quantity of amplification (through shares on social networks and/or links)

              A New Content Creation Model

              visual content skills

              These two trends will lead to the need for a new content creation model  Text alone is not enough. There is a mountain of evidence that visual content gets higher engagement and retention rates. It’s impossible to make a remarkable piece of content without really good visuals.

              Your content team must include someone with an eye for good design who can use the slew of new tools available to make interesting graphics, social posts, videos, and Instagram Stories. You need a bright, talented team that leverages every possible format to reach your audience and provide them with content they will love and share.

              Either train your existing staff or hire freelancers who know how to do this.

              Include these trends in your 2019 planning to give your results a boost. And learn how to measure those results, so you can show clients or the C-suite how you’re contributing to the business goals and the bottom line.

              Follow me on Twitter

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              #9 MOST-VIEWED EVENT in 2017: The 5 Keys to Kick-Ass Content Marketing (Free Webinar On-Demand)

              5keys_640X480 on demand

              Webinar Overview

              We invest a lot of time, budget and effort in creating content. Yet 90% of the content fails to achieve business goals. Why? Without being able to identify the types of content that resonate with our core audience, knowing what will actually impact conversions and business objectives, and having a strategy to distribute our content, we communicators are spinning their wheels.

              In this webinar with industry experts Shonali Burke, Brandon Andersen and Heidi Sullivan, you will explore the five core elements of a successful content marketing strategy:

              1. Content Strategy: Utilize content intelligence to know what content works – and with who.
              2. Amplification: Learn why just creating great content isn’t enough – make content marketing work for you.
              3. Influencer Engagement: Effectively reach new audiences through influencer marketing.
              4. Social PR: Integrate your campaigns across channels and engage your communities.
              5. Measurable Success: Tie your efforts back to the bottom line.

              Presenters

              Shonali Burke_headshotShonali Burke

              Shonali Burke, ABC, owns her own eponymous Social PR consulting firm which helps businesses small and large take their communications from corporate codswallop to community coolTM. She is also the founder of The Social PR Virtuoso®, an online training hub where ambitious Social PR professionals can learn to unleash their inner Social PR superheroes.

              A veteran of small and large PR agencies, Shonali was an early adopter of social media in the PR space. Career highlights include leading the ASPCA’s communications during the 2007 pet food recall and Michael Vick case, and where she put in place its award-winning measurement program; and the now-textbook digital strategy for USA for UNHCR’s Blue Key campaign.

              In 2010, Shonali founded the #measurePR hashtag and Twitter chat, which she still hosts. In 2015, AWC-DC honored her with its prestigious Matrix Award for excellence in communication and service to the industry. Since 2009, Shonali has been an adjunct faculty member for The Johns Hopkins University’s MA in Communications program, and for which she was named 2016 “Instructor of the Year.”

               

              Heidi SullivanHeidi Sullivan

              Named Influencer of the Year by the Hub in 2014 and one of PRWeek’s 40 Under 40 in 2012, Heidi Sullivan is currently host and producer of Influence Pros, the industry’s premiere podcast on influencer marketing. She was formerly a senior vice president at Cision and helped to transform the way PR professionals create and measure campaigns, utilize social media and target influencers. She frequently speaks at conferences and events about content and influencer marketing, social media and the changing media landscape.

               

               

               

              brandon-andersen-square-web

              Brandon Andersen

              Brandon Andersen is an award-winning digital strategist with over a decade of digital marketing and product development experience. He is the Chief Strategist at Ceralytics, a content intelligence platform that uses predictive analytics to determine the topics that engage and drive your audience to take key actions.

              A self-described content marketing and measurement junkie, Brandon is always looking for new ideas and brilliant uses of content that tells a story. You can follow him on Twitter @Andersenology and you can follow Ceralytics @ceralytics.

               

              5Keys Register Now




              How to See ROI in Your Content Marketing Efforts

              Jennifer Hetherington, Senior Vice President of Marketing, TSheets.com

              We all know the web is oversaturated with content. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to write anything of value. Answering the reader’s question is one thing — one very important thing — but is your content providing the best information? And more importantly, do you know why you’re providing it?

              The reason some pieces of content do well while others fall flat: Your endgame.

              You’d be surprised by how often writers create content without a clear purpose and endgame in mind. As Zig Zigler would say, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” And it’s true.

              Even in these content-rich days where information is literally buzzing all around you, the only marketers who write successful content are those who identify their “why.”

              So before you sit down to write, it’s vital to start by asking yourself what your goals are and what you want your content to achieve. Here are a few perfect examples of endgames you can keep in mind for ultra-promotable content that wins over audiences and converts.

              Educate

              Customers may not be aware of their pain points or know they need your product or service until you educate them. If they were aware that you could save them time, save them money, or make their lives easier, your audience will be more interested in engaging with your content. Give them the data, show them the research, and let them discover their pain point for themselves.

              Attract new customers

              The law of attraction is really the power of positivity. To attract new customers, you have to find a positive, entertaining, beautiful way to communicate how you can help them with a challenge. Creatively displaying features and making the reader sincerely interested in your product or service on an emotional level means writing a piece about the ease of using your product or a case study about a happy customer.

              Stay engaged with existing customers

              If your audience consists of existing customers, your endgame might be to keep them on board. This could involve content like social media posts, personalized newsletters, emails, and relevant updates about your business and its landscape. Strike up a conversation on social media by raising a question or taking a stance that will make your customers eager to add their two cents.

              Increase brand awareness

              If you’ve got a great product and brand, but need to add a little more awareness in your community and beyond, think of content strategies that will encourage your reader to identify your brand. When they see your brand online, it’s important to give them something positive to associate it with. Did you win an award? Write up a press release. Do you represent your company by participating in community outreach projects? Write about what you’ve learned or the people you’ve met.

              Encourage inbound links

              If you’re looking for inbound links, promote content to sites that will draw customers to your website via shared audiences. Send articles of interest to related publications and ask them kindly to include a link to your company. If both parties can benefit from great content or information, it’s a win-win. They get a piece of content that can educate their audience, and you get some inbound traffic to your site.

              You may have multiple goals and that’s ok

              For example, one of my content team’s recent articles discussed changing legislation in Arizona concerning sick leave. The article wasn’t just educational, but it touched on a major pain point for our customers and it was highly shareable. It gave our readers something to engage with as they learned about a solution.

              Your endgame will drive everything you do, as you imagine and produce new content. Once you’ve decided on the purpose of your content, keep it in mind as you consider your audience and topics. And discuss your ideal endgame with your team to ensure everyone is aligned and on the same page.

              Trust me, your goals will be easier to attain once you’ve reached a solid “why” for every single piece you put out into the busy world of information and content. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the impact it can have on your ROI.

              About the Author: Jennifer Hetherington is the Senior Vice President of Marketing for TSheets.com, but she’s known as “Wonder Woman” to her team. Jennifer is an innovative leader with more than 15 years of experience in marketing, a heart for helping people, and a track record for developing high-performance teams. She works in Boise, Idaho.




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